Thursday, May 1, 2008

Minnesota presente

Despite being thousands of miles away, my beloved home state never fails to make appearances in Chile. Over the past two weeks, the Land of Lakes has made a significant number of cameos on sweatshirts that have crossed my path. It even showed up at this morning's Labor Day march, which culminated not far from where I live. I was so excited that I snapped this hasty, severely overexposed photo.

Demanding better working conditions or rooting for the Vikings? You decide.

According to the CUT (Central Unitaria de Trabajadores), the union federation that organized the march, 80,000 Chileans participated in events this morning to advocate for workers' rights. There were dancers, bands (including Chile's famous Inti Illimani), clowns and a whole lot of cumbia. Numerous unions, political parties and cultural groups participated. I was even able to talk to a Santa Isabel employee about allegedly abusive labor practices within the chain that owns my local supermarket arch-nemesis.

Do similar May 1 demonstrations occur in the U.S.? If so, I've never seen one. Granted, I wasn't around for last year's May 1 pro-immigrant marches, although I wish I had been.

It seems to me that Chilean workers are much more vocal when it comes to denouncing workplace injustice than their North American counterparts. Some would argue that this is because they have more injustice to deal with. Whether or not that's the case, I still think many U.S. workers have a lot to be unsatisfied with. Have we in the States just resigned ourselves to believing that, as unfortunate as it is, there will always be someone getting trampled? Maybe our decades of so-called stability have convinced us that things are what they are and not what we make them. Thoughts?

Here are some more photos from the march:


noel said...

I wonder if the little boy was asking Santa how much paid vacation the elves are granted at the North Pole? Or, maybe he was putting in a Christmas request for one of those popular Minnesota sweatshirts?? Hmmmmm.

Maeskizzle said...

I'm so glad you blogged about this. I always see Chileans wearing gringo gear. And it's so weird because you know they don't have a clue who the green bay packers are, but a gringo does. Or they wear random t-shirts like for locally organized fun runs in small gringo communities. Just Tuesday we went to a barbecue and a friend of mine was wearing a Colorado State sweatshirt. I told him I went to a University in Colorado and he was like, I picked the sweatshirt for it's colors. I totally understand him. Gringo clothing is a bit better quality, even if it is second hand. But second hand gringo stuff is often brand new.